Kolkata: Fashion Designer Agnimitra Paul, from Kolkata has also worked with Bollywood celebrities and is known for her social work. However, with her joining Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the designer is all set to make a mark as a politician. She is expecting to get a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha election in Bengal as BJP is yet to field candidate from Bengal’s two seats.
eNewsroom: From being Agnimitra Paul, the acclaimed fashion designer, you are now Agnimitra Paul, the politician…
Agnimitra: (Laughs). I might don different mantles, but I will always be dedicated towards the work that I have been entrusted with.
eNewsroom: Why did you opt to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)?
Agnimitra: I joined BJP because I revere and admire Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. I have been following his work; his diplomatic policies; the different yojnas that he has started and in him, I find a leader who is a visionary; a doer and believes in leading from the front. He is always promoting India and has been working hard to put our country on the global map. Just look at the attention and position that India has garnered on an international scale under his leadership! I am in awe of him and he is my inspiration. I would really like to work with him and for him. I am looking forward to contribute to the kind of work that he is doing.
eNewsroom: So, will you be contesting in the elections this year?
Agnimitra: I am very grateful to be given this opportunity to become part of BJP and if the party deems me fit and gives me the ticket then I shall definitely contest in the forthcoming elections. The party is yet to announce the contestants for two more seats in West Bengal. Let’s wait and watch.
eNewsroom: Did you always nurture an ambition to become a politician?
Agnimitra: As you are aware, I have always been interested and actively involved in social work and social causes. I love working for the betterment of people, especially the underprivileged and it was my friend Mr. Parthasarathy Chowdhury who first suggested that I should join politics as that will enable me to reach out to more people and work for them on a larger scale. Parthasarathy had earlier been instrumental in me joining the censor board in 2016 and once again he acted as the catalyst…
eNewsroom: …And a friend’s suggestion turned into a motivating factor…
Agnimitra: It did, but not overnight. But, the more I thought about his suggestion, I realised that a political platform will indeed enable me to reach out to the policy makers and it will also allow me to take the problems of the mass to the Parliament. I can be their voice. I can get projects that will benefit our people. Imagine being part of the policy making process!All these thoughts went on to shape my opinion and now that I have joined the field, allow me to state that I have not joined politics to earn/ make money. I firmly believe in the concept of developmental politics and that I have only one agenda – to make constructive difference in the lives of people.
eNewsroom: Let’s shift the focus from politics. You have recently launched a new project titled ‘Agnita’. Tell us something about it.
Agnimitra: Agnita was launched in February this year and I am doing it with CII-IWN (Indian Women Network (IWN) launched by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)). The project is being funded by Tata. Under Agnita, we are training 150 underprivileged women in the Gosaba block in Sunderbans to stitch, thereby, empowering them to earn their own livelihood. The project will run for one-year now.Mr. Prashant Sharma of Charnock Hospital gave us the first order and now the hospital gowns and aprons are being stitched by the ‘Agnita’ women. Thus, they are learning on-the-job and also getting paid. It is an amazing feeling to see them smile.
eNewsroom: The final question: You must be aware of how ‘difference in opinion/ viewpoints’ over political issues/ agendas/ policies have recently led to friends and relatives to indulge in personal attacks and even ‘unfriending’ one another on social media. Do you think this is healthy? What is your take on this?
Agnimitra: This is not acceptable at all. It is not right to indulge in personal attacks just because your opinion differs from mine about certain issues/ agendas et al. See, we need to invest in everything that is ‘healthy. Healthy competition; healthy relationships and health politics – these are the needs-of-the-hour. Personal mudslinging and ‘unfriending’ one another will not help at all. This attitude needs to change. In my opinion, every single person, every single political party should join hands and work as a team for the betterment of our country. Yes, there will be difference in opinions, but we need to let go of all kinds of disparities and work for common good.